Quantcast
Energy
Port Westward natural gas plant in Clatskanie, OR. About 20 percent of global greenhouse emissions comes from natural gas. Portland General Electric / Flickr

Carbon Tax Would Help U.S. Meet Paris Goals, Study Finds

If the U.S. does decide to stay in the Paris agreement, a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has confirmed a policy proposal that would enable us to meet our 2030 commitments, an MIT press release reported Friday.

Researchers studied various carbon tax proposals and found that they would be an effective means of reducing emissions and would have minimal impacts on the economy.


The joint MIT and NREL study was one of 11 such reports to look at the impact of a carbon tax in Climate Change Economics. The studies all started from the same set of assumptions; while the details of the studies' conclusions varied, all agreed that a carbon tax could be both effective environmentally and fair economically.

In order to reach their conclusions, researchers used two models: an MIT model of policy impacts on global climate and a NREL model of the U.S. electrical system, which allowed them to assess how proposals would impact that emission-generating sector specifically.

They examined proposals looking at three sets of variables: taxes beginning at $25 or $50 per ton of carbon emitted, yearly tax rate increases of one or five percent, and revenue distribution in the form of equal rebates for every household, individual tax breaks, or corporate tax breaks.

They found that a tax beginning at $50 and increasing by five percent would reduce emissions 63 percent by 2050 and meet both 2030 and 2050 Paris goals. A tax beginning at $25 would also meet the U.S.'s 2030 Paris goal if it was accompanied by a five percent increase.

The researchers also looked at which revenue-uses would be most efficient for the economy overall and which would be fairer in terms of minimizing the tax's impact on low-income Americans.

Using the revenue to give all taxpayers an equal rebate was the fairest option, but the least economically efficient, whereas using the revenue to reduce capital taxes was the most efficient, but the least fair.

However, researchers also looked at a compromise plan that would reduce corporate taxes and offer a rebate to the lowest-income families, a plan they said would have a minimal impact on the economy. Even the most economically-inefficient options would only reduce growth by four-tenths of a percent.

Study author and MIT Sloan School of Management senior lecturer John Reilly noted that the study's economic analysis was slightly out-of-date, since it was conducted before the passing of President Donald Trump's tax bill.

"It is important to realize that this study was completed before the tax reform that took effect in January that slashed corporate income tax rates. Given that these tax rates have now been cut, and that those cuts will contribute to a growing deficit, we might better consider the revenue as a contribution to closing the deficit," Reilly said in the MIT release.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Sit-in at Rep. Hoyer's office. Sunrise Movement

1,000+ Youth Activists Storm Capitol to Demand Green New Deal

More than 1,000 climate activists with the youth-led Sunrise Movement stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington and participated in sit-ins at Democratic leaders' offices on Monday.

The protesters demanded Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim McGovern support Rep-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal of a "select committee" for a Green New Deal before the winter recess.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Stikine River runs through Wrangell, Alaska. Mining operations nearby threaten to poison fish in the Stikine watershed and destroy the traditions and livelihoods of Southeast Alaskan Tribes. Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Canada as Ugly Neighbor: Mines in BC Would Devastate Alaskan Tribes

By Ramin Pejan

Mining operations in Canada are threatening to destroy the way of life of Southeast Alaskan Tribes who were never consulted about the mines by the governments of Canada or British Columbia.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
Deforestation on peatland for palm oil plantation in Borneo, Indonesia. glennhurowitz / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

World's Largest Palm Oil Trader Ramps Up Zero-Deforestation Efforts

The world's largest palm oil trader released plans on Monday to increase its efforts to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain.

Wilmar International, which supplies 40 percent of the world's palm oil, has teamed up with the sustainability consultancy Aidenvironment Asia to develop a comprehensive mapping database to better monitor the company's palm oil supplier group.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California's few remaining coastal wetlands. Edmund Lowe Photography / Moment / Getty Images

New EPA Rule Would Sabotage Clean Water Act

By Jake Johnson

In a move environmentalists are warning will seriously endanger drinking water and wildlife nationwide, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly gearing up to hand yet another gift to big polluters by drastically curtailing the number of waterways and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
James Braund / Getty Images

40 Acres of Farm Land in America Is Lost to Development Every Hour

By Brian Barth

Picture bulldozers plowing up pastures and cornfields to put in subdivisions and strip malls. Add to this picture the fact that the average age of the American farmer is nearly 60—it's often retiring farmers that sell to real estate developers. They can afford to pay much more for property than aspiring young farmers.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy

60,000 Liters of Oil Spills From Pipeline Into Brazilian Bay

About 60,000 liters (15,850 gallons) of oil spilled from a pipeline into the Estrela River and spread to Rio de Janeiro's famed Guanabara Bay over the weekend, according to Reuters and local reports.

The pipeline is owned by Transpetro, the largest oil and gas transportation company in Brazil, and a subsidiary of Petroleo Brasileiro (commonly known as Petrobras). Transpetro claims the leak resulted from an attempted robbery.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
alvarez / E+ / Getty Images

Holiday Shoppers, the Planet Needs You to Take It Easy With Next-Day Shipping

By Jeff Turrentine

Back in 1966, the editors of Time indulged in a long-honored magazine tradition and published an essay in which experts made predictions about the future—in this case, the year 2000. By then, these experts prognosticated, a typical shopper "should be able to switch on to the local supermarket on the video phone, examine grapefruit and price them, all without stirring from her living room." But even so, they predicted, "remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop." Why? Because shoppers "like to get out of the house, like to handle the merchandise, like to be able to change their minds."

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The Russia pavilion at the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland. Beata Zawrzel / NurPhoto via Getty Images

COP24: U.S. Joins Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait in Blocking Crucial Climate Report

The U.S. has thrown its hat in the ring with three other fossil-fuel friendly nations to block the COP24 talks from "welcoming" the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that warned that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, BBC News reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!